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Proactive Background Clearing Techniques

Posted by William Chadwick on

Proactive Background Clearing Techniques

By: William Chadwick


Striking interesting topics one at a time can be fun and enlightening.  So how about proactive background clearing?  We operate in the mindset of the hunter, never the hunted. Operate like a predator and not the prey.  We are hungry for DLRs (things that just “Don’t Look Right”) and have set up many filters to alert us of their presence.  We remain calm, cool, collected.  Like the Wolf on the prowl, not reacting defensively but responding decisively.

Private Security is like fishing in the dark and you never know what you are going to pull out of the water… and for the unthinkable it would be a deadly force incident.  Are you proactively clearing your background while you are on post or whenever you approach a DLR.  Are you currently using approach tactics or even aware of what you are placing as the decided backstop for your or the enemies fired rounds that may pass thru or miss their intended target?  This thought process should be recognized and integrated with our approach tactics.  If there is a safer better way to do something I think we can agree it would be good advice to follow through with due diligence.

Let’s look at what if any control we lose or gain by approaching or engaging at different angles and positions. While approaching and making contact via drawing the attention to your position have you considered what’s behind you or the enemy?  Is there a planned course of action if this goes south?  Will you be moving left, or right? Have you practiced?  Is your footwork correct?  How’s your one handed half-homie coming along?  Are you ready?  Start thinking like this and you will be.

The variable of control here is of course trajectory.  A proper time to take a knee would be when you need that clean headshot that won’t strike the people on the same level as the target.  This is proactive background clearing at full throttle as the decision is made moments before or simultaneously as the  gunfight ensues and you drop the hammer on the first round… during the draw and firing position acquisition.  We also understand firing from an over watch or elevated position (even merely shooting the downed opponent) makes the surface level the backstop for your side of the lead slinging.

Whether you are providing cover for another team member or making contact with an any given Sunday DLR be sure to think before you may have to shoot.  Especially when two officers make a vehicle approach, don’t be on a line of force.  Clear your line of lead distribution and stay out of any others.  This is one of the basic gun safety rules, on steroids.  Know your target and what is in-between you and it and what lies beyond.  There are no misses. Only Hits. Who is in front of or beyond the target would be the most important.  Quickly followed by…  is the background considered cover for whom might be on the other side of said background?

We conducted test on sheetrock and while we know it is not cover, it is a staple in the building construction and found that even hollow points meant to expand on impact simply filled with the sheetrock and continued on they’re not so merry way of destructive tumbling.  When it came to the patrol rifle I need not remind you there is simply not much cover provided outside of concrete, earth, engine blocks and people.

 This rule should follow the gunfighter everywhere and not lie so dormant in the oh so basic gun safety rules that are only paid attention to before firing semi-annually at the gun range to scare the dust bunnies out of the barrel.  If you really want this to sink in… take it home with you.  In the home protection mindset or as I call it “Castle Defense” you are going to have the answer when it comes to your trained methodical process and ability to clear your home to protect & rescue loved ones and you can quickly grasp the concept of “where NOT to shoot”. Until next time, get out and train and I’ll see you on the range.


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